The Buildcorp Wallaroos side that will face New Zealand’s Black Ferns in the first Test of the O’Reilly Cup at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch this Saturday, 20 August, with 15 Waratahs players named in the matchday 23.
Waratahs lock Adiana Talakai makes her return to the match day 23 after suffering a knee injury in the Wallaroos’ first Test against the Black Ferns earlier this year, while veteran prop Emily Robinson has been recalled to the side.
Atasi Lafai, who was a standout in the early stages of the Super W season for NSW before sustaining a collarbone injury against the Rebels, will also make her return to Test Rugby.
Queensland Reds prop Bree-Anna Cheatham is set to make her Test debut at loosehead prop. Cheatham, who travelled as part of the Pacific Four Series squad earlier this year, missed the entire Super W season due to injury but has worked her way back into contention through state-based Wallaroos training and strong club Rugby form with Wests in Queensland Premier Rugby.
Brumbies Number 8 Grace Kemp will make her starting debut in just her second Test match, after making her Test debut from the bench in the Wallaroos’ final match of the Pacific Four campaign against Canada.
Ashley Marsters and Bridie O’Gorman join Cheatham in the front row, while Michaela Leonard and Kaitlan Leaney will continue to develop their second row partnership. Captain Shannon Parry and blindside flanker Emily Chancellor round out the back row.
In the halves, NSW duo Iliseva Batibasaga and Arabella McKenzie will start, while Cecilia Smith and Georgina Friedrichs will continue their combination in the centres.
Ivania Wong returns from a knee injury to start on the wing, and will be joined in the back three by Mahalia Murphy and Pauline Piliae-Rasabale.
Head coach Jay Tregonning said: “The team has come back into camp in better shape since our last campaign, showing that players have been putting in the hard yards in their respective states.
“I’ve been impressed with how everyone has applied themselves this week as we prepare for the first O’Reilly Cup Test against New Zealand.
“It is great to reward a number of players who have been diligent in their training in the seven weeks since we were last together for the Pacific Four campaign, with players working hard to return from injury while also playing great Rugby in their respective club competitions around the Country.
“We’re still building towards the World Cup, but we want to keep improving with every game and be competitive against the top teams in the world, which includes New Zealand.
“These two Test matches provide us with a great opportunity for further growth off the back of the Pacific Four campaign, with valuable game time for the players ahead of the World Cup.”
The Test match between the Wallaroos and the Black Ferns kicks off at 7:05pm NZST (5:05pm AEST) this Saturday, 20 August, at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch.
The match will be broadcast live and ad free on Stan Sport.
Wallaroos to face Black Ferns on Saturday, 20 August:
- Bree-Anna Cheatham* – Queensland Reds
- Ashley Marsters – Melbourne Rebels
- Bridie O’Gorman – NSW Waratahs
- Michaela Leonard – ACT Brumbies
- Kaitlan Leaney – NSW Waratahs
- Emily Chancellor – NSW Waratahs
- Shannon Parry (c) – Queensland Reds
- Grace Kemp** – ACT Brumbies
- Iliseva Batibasaga – NSW Waratahs
- Arabella McKenzie – NSW Waratahs
- Ivania Wong – Queensland Reds
- Cecilia Smith – Queensland Reds
- Georgina Friedrichs – NSW Waratahs
- Mahalia Murphy – NSW Waratahs
- Pauline Piliae-Rasabale – NSW Waratahs
- Adiana Talakai – NSW Waratahs
- Emily Robinson – NSW Waratahs
- Eva Karpani – NSW Waratahs
- Atasi Lafai – NSW Waratahs
- Piper Duck – NSW Waratahs
- Layne Morgan – NSW Waratahs
- Trilleen Pomare – Western Force
- Lori Cramer – NSW Waratahs
*Denotes Wallaroos debut **Denotes Wallaroos starting debut